Waratahs looking to bounce back from Blues defeat

Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon admits the heavy loss to the Blues took the wind out of their Super Rugby Pacific sails and is hoping the return of key men can revive their finals hopes.

Licking their wounds after their undermanned side was thrashed by the Blues, the Waratahs will attempt to get the season back on course when they host the Highlanders at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

NSW coach Darren Coleman rested a swag of Wallabies stars, including veteran flanker Michael Hooper, from the trip to Auckland with the 55-21 scoreline all but erasing memories of a rousing win over Western Force in the previous round.

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Gordon felt the team was building “nicely” before the Blues.

‘It’s a tricky one as over the last sort of month we were building quite nicely … in that Force game we really started to put together some really good footy; still not where we want to be but heading in the right direction,” the halfback said.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a shot to the pride last week – it’s a hard one to take as any Super team putting 50 points on you is really disappointing.

“We have to move on, we can’t ignore it but we can’t dwell on it forever and I’m excited for the Highlanders.”

Gordon hoped the return of stars from the Wallabies-enforced rest and injuries would revive their campaign after the hammer-blow loss.

Six Test players return to the starting XV in a must-win match for the 10th-placed side.

“Having those guys come back is going to be huge for us. The return of Langi (Gleeson) is going to be massive as he’s a really big ball carrier for us and someone who can get us on the front foot,” Gordon said.

“Also the experience that comes through Michael Hooper coming back, Dave Porecki, Lalakai Foketi, guys like that coming back to the starting 15 is awesome for us.”

On a personal note Gordon is looking forward to the match-up with veteran All Blacks No.9 Aaron Smith as he looks to mount a case for Wallabies selection.

Smith will captain the Highlanders, who themselves are coming off a disappointing loss to the Force.

He hasn’t played in almost a month due to family reasons and is among eight changes to their starting line-up.

“It’s always an exciting match-up to go against one of the world’s best – he’s (Smith) been at the top of his game for a very long time and those match-ups you always get excited for,” Gordon said.

“Aaron’s going to be an exciting challenge and it should be a good one.”

Source link: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/have-to-move-on-waratahs-looking-to-bounce-back-from-blues-defeat/




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